Influencer campaigns can be an effective way to introduce a new product, or a great way to introduce an existing product to a new market. Here’s the story of one such product that’s about a month away from making such a leap.
For more than a decade, Dr. Seward Rutkove, a neurologist at Harvard Medical School, has been developing and improving a device that can precisely measure muscle quality. The device has been extremely useful to track progress of patients with muscular disorders. Rutkove and Bohorquez co-founded the company Skulpt based on the device.
“Only last year, (Skulpt co-founder and Chief Executive Officer) Jose Bohorquez saw the great potential of using this technology in the fitness space, introducing Aim as our first consumer device,” said Stasia Dara, communications director for Skulpt.
“Most people know it’s not about the weight anymore, because they don’t know what that weight consists of,” Dara said. It’s not unusual, for example, for a person getting into shape to add weight, since adding muscle literally outweighs losing fat.
Enter Skulpt’s Aim, a portable, wireless device you can place against 24 different muscle groups. The device, which sells, for $199, measures the current running through it, and by doing that, measures muscle quality. Skulpt developed a scale similar to the scoring on IQ tests, so people can see how they compare with the average with each measurement.
Skulpt has been accepting preorders for about a year. The company expects to begin shipping near the end of November and to fill all the preorders by mid-December. It has lined up partners Amazon, Wal-Mart and GNC for on-line sales, along with its own web site, and the company hopes to make the product available in stores in early 2015.
If all of this is news to you … well, that’s why Skulpt, a Raynforest client, is looking for influencers to help spread the word, and give the company valuable feedback on what they like and how to improve the product.
Dara explains why the company is using influencers as a major part of its marketing efforts. “It not only raises brand awareness, but positions us as leaders,” she said. “It’s a very authentic, review-type relationship. We actually give them the product to review, get a true response and see how we can improve. They get them before the general public gets them.”
As is often the case with a new product, the company sees the influencers as not simply generating sales but educating potential buyers on how to get the most out of the device.
But there’s another vital role that influencers (and other users) are playing: They are helping Skulpt build a database of ever-increasing detail and sophistication, which in turn will make the product all-the-more useful.
Take, for example, a runner who uses Skulpt. She might be interested in the results of all 24 muscle groups and how her score compares with the overall average for each one. But she’s particularly interested in critical running muscles such as calves and quads. And she’d like to know how her calf score compares with other people in her age group. As more people use the product, Skulpt’s database will get more robust and be able to provide better answers to those more-specific questions.
Right now Skulpt is looking for influencers to help promote their brand.
Here’s Stasia Dara, on the kind of influencer Skulpt wants to attract:
“Ideally, we’d want athletes that are superior in their sport. For us, this has a practical application in that we want our users who practice a particular sport to be able to compare their measurements with leaders in their sport. This also helps to position Skulpt as leaders in the fitness space.
“We want someone who knows their followers and has a loyal following. They must have experience and superior knowledge in their space to understand and relay the importance of measuring muscle quality. Finally, they must be passionate and enthusiastic individuals. Passion is contagious, and we’d love to see the passion for their sport come through to their passion in representing our brand.”
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